Two years down, two more to go. It is now your junior year and you are cruising steadily along. Well, you better awaken from that blissful reverie, it is game time. College is still a ways off, but you have to get started on your college preparations. I do not want to sugar coat this process. It really is no fun, but do not fret, follow my easy steps and you will stay on track.
So first off, where the heck do you want to go to college? Don’t know? Well, you must do some thinking and research. What do you like to do? Get a few ideas together as to what you may want to major in. Now it is time for the tedious research and exploration process. You are going to get at least three hundred metric tons of mail from various colleges trying to sway you to attend their fabulous establishment. So, as boring and awful as it may seem, look through these various letters of recruitment. Hopefully, you will start to spy some colleges that appeal to you for one reason or another. Further your research of the colleges that interest you online. See what their strengths are, their weakness, their location, if they have specialties you might want to major in, price, and most importantly, if you can get in with your grades, activities, and other prerequisites. If possible, try and visit the colleges you are really considering.
As junior year comes and begins to go, you have to take a really really important step towards attending college: taking an SAT or an ACT. Personally, I took the SAT, it takes absolutely forever, but it is important to nearly every college. If you are feeling very ambitious, you might even consider taking both tests. In order to prepare for these tests, there are SAT and ACT study books that can be bought at Borders or Barnes and Noble. Use these as tools and not crutches; but the best method to prepare for these tests is to read read read. Nothing will help you with these standardized monsters more than reading.
After the standardized tests, you have some down time until your senior year begins. But do not idle for too long. In order to gain entry to the college you want, you must keep up your work ethic and grades. Just because college is becoming large focus, does not mean you can slack off in school now. Once your senior year begins and you have achieved scores on your ACT and SAT that satisfy you, the application process finally begins. Apply as early as you can to the schools you want. Not only will this look better in the eyes of colleges, it will put your mind at ease.
Most schools now have online applications, so it is very convenient to apply. Fill the applications out as honestly and completely as you possible can. Be as honest as possible because colleges have begun cracking down on resume padding. Get all additional requirements filled out and sent in, such as teacher recommendations or AP scores. Follow up on anything that others need to do for you; be courteous but you must make sure they are done on time. Once all your applications are sent in, the waiting game begins. If you applied early, many colleges will give you response early on so you will not be waiting all the way until March or even May. When applying, make sure you apply to at least one school you know you are overqualified for just in case your other applications do not work out. You do not want to put all your eggs in one basket.
When your applications are out, you must still make sure you keep focused and get your school work done; some colleges will actually repeal admissions if your grades tail off enough. Most importantly, make sure you have fun and enjoy your senior year. You have completed most of high school and are getting ready for the next stage of your life.
Soon enough, the application decisions will be returning to you. If you have worked hard, hopefully you have been accepted into the schools you desire most. The letters should explain what steps to take next in the process of actually attending the school you actually want to go to. Get all of your vaccinations, forms, housing applications, etc. done so as not to miss deadlines and even miss an opportunity to go to your dream school. Make certain to send letters to the schools that accepted you informing them that you will not attend so not as too limit someone else’s opportunity.
Finally, you have all but finished this four year gauntlet full of hard school work and look college applications. Finish your last year strong, and soak it all in. You have accomplished great things and are now ready to really starting learning. It is going to be a fun summer. Keep safe, and get ready for college.